Sunday, January 25, 2015

Why I have been a blogging slacker

I have been a blogging slacker. Our life has been full of basketball for both boys, church committments and just the craziness of life. We are fine and healthy and surviving day by day with a full calendar but with lots of "awesomeness" on the horizon.

Last week we were in full preparation for Mike and Kyle to head to Gatlinburg with over 30 youth and 10 chaperones for the Holston Conference's Resurrection weekend. They had an amazing mountaintop experience with God and frankly Hope, David and I did as well here in Marion. We watched the live streams of the worship and preaching here at home in our pajamas and I have been profoundly affected by the powerful messages and the idea that God chose us.

Only a handful of adults went with the youth so many of us Moms stayed at home and watched livesteam. If I was this touched watching it at home on my Ipad, I cannot imagine being there. What a wonderful weekend for our youth (the future of our churches) to spend time learning about our amazing God that chose us.

During the Saturday night session, the preacher, Reggie, used this song to relate the youth to the idea that God forgives our past, you just need to trust Him with your future.






Be born in me
Be born in me
Trembling heart,
somehow I believe
That you chose me


This song pierced my heart that regardless of how unfaithful I have been to God in the past he still chose me. I will never understand why he chose me to be a superintendents wife. My skin is not thick enough for this job sometimes and my feelings get hurt. I will never understand why God chose me to mother a baby with an IQ of 64. I will really never understand why God thought I was tough enough to watch that same baby endure nine months of hell called cancer treatment before his ninth birthday. On this side of heaven none of this makes sense, but I can and will say that God makes sense every. single. day.

I am so thankful and humbled that Jesus pursued me in my early twenties when I was dealing with an unfaithful boyfriend who had broken my heart. I gave my heart to Jesus then and I will continue to give it to him every day of my life. I have certainly not upheld my end of the deal in terms of faithfulness, but he has never left me or been unfaithful.

When Jesus pursued me I was broken hearted over a silly boy, but God had someone better in mind for me. My heart is so thankful that God also gave me a man that was man enough to spend his entire weekend and lose lots of sleep and sanity to chaperone five middle school boys. Every picture that I saw on facebook from the event or that someone texted me I looked for my boys. My heart is overwhelmed that God gave me a man that gets it that these kids need Jesus and that he was willing to give up his weekend plans to worship our God with these kids.

I also was overwhelmed thinking of my thirteen year old listening to these powerful sermons and being touched. I pray that my kids have the same moment of coming face-to-face with God and surrendering it all for him. We want to protect our kids from all of life's heartaches, but that silly breakup in my early twnenties tendered my heart to need a Savior and ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me.

I am so thankful on this Sunday night that we are all together after a great weekend of taking time out-the boys in Gatlinburg and us here in Marion via Ipad- to remember that life is about surrendering to the One who came to give us truly abundant life.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saying Goodbye

This past weekend we laid to rest our sweet Memaw. We all had a few teary moments over the weekend but overall it was fun family time surrounded by great food and fellowship. My aunt Charlotte and her husband Ron and my Uncle Gary and his wife and son, all stayed at my parents house. It has been many decades since all of the Gilmore children stayed under the same roof. I know Memaw was smiling down on her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren having such fun together.



My grandmother was A quilter and for the last few months this angel made out of a quilt has been with her in the nursing home. It was only fitting that the angel be on display during her service.

Hope loved her Memaw and the night before the service she spend a great deal of time making a card to be placed in Memaw's casket with her.
God bless Mullins funeral home. David desperately wanted to be a pall bearer like his Daddy and Uncle Chad, and sure enough david was named an honorary pall bearer with his own boutinierre:)

Memaw asked Kyle many months ago to read John 3:16 at her service. Kyle is painfully shy and he agreed to do it but public speaking is not his love. Not only did he do it, but he did it well from the heart. My heart could barely contain hearing my oldest read sacred scripture that reminds us all how much God truly loves enough-enough to send His one and only son to die for you and for me.
Right after Kyle read his verse, David then went up to the front per Memaw's request and sang Jesus Loves Me with all of his heart. He sang it for Memaw and for Jesus and it was gorgeous. William Ratliffe on the piano did a wonderful job of playing David's speed and my heart could hardly contain my joy. My cancer warrior who loves Jesus so much singing his heart out for his Memaw.

My brother then sang How Great Thou Art and it was gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. It touched me so much that Memaw put so much thought into her service and asked several of the "kids" to participate. After Chad sang Pastor Brian offered up a sermon on the hope that Memaw had in her eternal destiny because she loved Jesus. It was really an upbeat and hopeful service and I know Memaw would have loved it.
As we filed out of the church to head to the graveside, I gasped when I saw my sweet David helping the men carry Memaw to her final resting place. Those men carried her with such love and tenderness and to see my youngest son helping made me smile. Memaw had a huge impact on us all because we were blessed with her for so many years. She knew her Savior, and because of Jesus she is now in Heaven with Him. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Sweet Memaw

On Thursday, my sweet Memaw went to be with Jesus after 91 long years. My heart is very sad because I grew up around the block from her and she was a constant throughout my childhood. She had the sweetest spirit ever. I am so happy that she now is with Jesus and has a strong and new heart and body, but selfishly I am really sad.

God blessed me with some beautiful and sacred hours with her before she met Jesus. I went to Radford Wednesday evening and spent some time with her then and then Thursday morning. I will forever be grateful to God for those precious hours. She knew she was not alone and was surrounded by family and she knew she was going to greet Jesus.


Wednesday night I curled up in her hospital bed with her and rubbed her back and held her tight. Those last 24 hours she was very twitchy and jerky and it made me feel better to hold on to her. We took a selfie together:)

I was so touched Wednesday night watching my sweet Dad tend to her. He has been a faithful and wonderful son to her. She has been a widow since 1999 and since then my Dad stopped by her house every single morning on his way to work to check in with her. He has visited with her every day in the nursing home tending to her finances and other paperwork stuff. My Mom was her personal shopper and nursing home room decorator.

God has also used this bonus year with Memaw in the nursing home to help Dad and his sister Charlotte reconnect and strengthen their bond. Memaw often wondered why the Lord was keeping her here for so long and I think there will be many fruits of the labor.

Those last few hours I rubbed lotion on my grandma's hands just soaking up time. We all commented that we are changing facial cleaning routines ASAP because my garndma used Noxzema her entire life and her skin was gorgeous and soft even after 91 years of walking this Earth.


My Aunt Charlotte made it from Ohio just a few hours before my Memaw passed. She was stuck in a snowstorm at home in Ohio and could not leave until Thursday. So thankful she got to spend some precious time with her before she met Jesus. God's timing is always perfect.

Friday morning I was headed to Radford to help clean out her nursing home room and to help my Mom prepare for company. I was so sad and heartbroken over losing my Memaw and I looked out of my sunroof and saw this gorgeous sky. Memaw is happy and whole thanks to Jesus.
Sweet Memaw with Hope on her first birthday!!

Memaw's long life taught me some life lessons:

1) Love for God, church, and family. Memaw was a faithful server in her church for many decades. She taught me that just showing up for worship on Sunday morning is not enough. Serve others and serve your church!

2) Yesterday I placed my hand over her heart that was still beating weakly. It hit me hard that in her last few hours nothing mattered but that she was surrounded by family and had the blessed assurance that she WOULD meet Jesus. In her final hours it did not matter what size her bank account was, what kind of car she drove, what the square footage of her house was, all that mattered is that she was loved by us and loved by her Lord. That was a beautiful reminder to me yesterday that I need to stay the course and focus on what matters in this life. Memaw certainly did.

3) Her love for her quilts and cooking. I feel so honored that I can rock her chicken and dumplins recipe and she and I worked together on a small quilt wall hanging many years ago. I have her recipe box and her UMW cookbook and those are my favorites treasures that came out of her home.

4) God has truly prepared us a place in Heaven. In her final hours, a pastor came and prayed with her. It was just the three of us and we held onto her and prayed that the Lord would take her and to thank Him that he has prepared us a place. During the prayer her eyes popped open very large and she pointed beyond us in that room. It was beautiful and holy to think that she was privleged to see something that the Pastor and I were not able to see.

So this weekend we prepare to see family and friends to send her home in the way that she planned. It will be precious family time together as we all remember the woman who taught us many life lessons and God's truths.